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  1. #1
    Edited for submission Holbrook's Avatar
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    For what it's worth.

    Just posted a couple of thing on the community.

    Not pestering for critiques.

    If people want a read and a laugh at my scribblings here they are

    http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/199p0.html

    http://www.sffworld.com/community/story/198p0.html

  2. #2
    Special Member mistri's Avatar
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    Just to let you know that I do plan to have a quick read through one of your stories (prob. first chapt of the hat man), and will write down some of my thoughts, though I will stop short of it being a proper critique.

    I'll probably edit my thoughts into this post.

  3. #3
    Edited for submission Holbrook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mistri
    Just to let you know that I do plan to have a quick read through one of your stories (prob. first chapt of the hat man), and will write down some of my thoughts, though I will stop short of it being a proper critique.

    I'll probably edit my thoughts into this post.
    Thanks misti, would like to hear your thoughts...

  4. #4
    Special Member mistri's Avatar
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    I must apologise Ė I have not had time to read this, and probably will not get the time in the near future. Iíve just started a new job and itís eating away at my life

    Consequently, all Iíve done is skim-read a few pages. Hopefully some of the others will give you comments if you want them. Iím sorry that Iím not really saying anything, this is why I donít normally comment on stories here.

    From what Iíve read Ė isnít this a book youíve worked on for years, and itís already been through the crit cycle? If thatís so, Iím not sure how useful any comments can be Ė I think it is possible to get overcritted to the point where you can lose or dilute the authorís voice (Iím not saying this applies to you now, only that it could one day).

    Anyway:
    Quick positive:
    Youíre particularly skilled at description, atmosphere and setting. You excel at using small details to create a scene. This draws the reader into the world youíve created straight away.

    Quick issue:
    You seem to veer away from using the word Ďsaidí as a dialogue tag. You do use it, but tend to use everything else more frequently. I personally dislike overuse of adverb-y dialogue tags, or books where the author seems afraid of Ďsaidí, but this may just be me.

    Another positive:
    I think youíve got a strong beginning here Ė this paragraph really makes the reader want to read on and find out what the hell is going to happen next!:

    Once safely behind the inn, Jack hunkered down in the lee of the half-rotten stables and peeled open his orders. But there were not further instructions on the paper. It was an urgent appeal for him to contact his superior in the area. Jack felt a chill, which had nothing to do with the encroaching night, and made quickly to move on.


    Thatís all I had time for, sorry

  5. #5
    Edited for submission Holbrook's Avatar
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    Thanks Mistri for taking the time to do this. And thanks for your comments.

    I am not so bad with the said as I used to be, I believe you mentioned it before on another piece. I do try not to go over board on the huffed, sniffed, screamed, replied etc.....

    Yes it has been through the crit mill many times. Been rejected many times.

    I suppose the few things that bug me now are, is it readable, is it enjoyable.
    I never set out to write a doom leadened fantasy epic with this, more a tongue in cheek-swashbucker of a story. Something light and easy to read...

    Have always wondered if I hit the mark with it.

  6. #6
    Special Member mistri's Avatar
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    I probably did mention the said thing before - it's a personal bugbear and no reflection on your writing. Also, in this case I didn't find it that annoying anyway - only when I looked for it - as your writing sweeps the reader along and into the story.

    I think you've got the tone right and the story right and those are the most important things. After a point, especially when you've been through the crit mill a few times, I'm not sure how much help further crits can be - it's more important, I think, at this stage, for you to believe in the project (I'm sure you do, this is just general advice).

    What I liked about my skim-read most is that your chapter felt quite different to the material I'm sure editors are seeing most often - a refreshing change.

  7. #7
    Registered User magze's Avatar
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    Hey had a quick scan of The Hat Man and Hell Fountain nd really like the latter

  8. #8
    Witch of the Woods Miriamele's Avatar
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    Ah, the return of The Hat Man!

    I quickly scanned the first few paragraphs and it looks like you've made a lot of changes since I first read (and enjoyed) this work a couple of years ago. I don't have time today Holbrook, but when I get the chance I'll be reading Chapter 1 and telling you what I think!

    Later then

  9. #9
    Edited for submission Holbrook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miriamele
    Ah, the return of The Hat Man!

    I quickly scanned the first few paragraphs and it looks like you've made a lot of changes since I first read (and enjoyed) this work a couple of years ago. I don't have time today Holbrook, but when I get the chance I'll be reading Chapter 1 and telling you what I think!

    Later then
    Thanks Miriamele. Oh congrats on the new arrival as well..... fun isn't FOCL!

  10. #10
    Witch of the Woods Miriamele's Avatar
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    I finally found time to read through Chapter 1 today!

    Quote Originally Posted by Holbrook
    I suppose the few things that bug me now are, is it readable, is it enjoyable.
    I never set out to write a doom leadened fantasy epic with this, more a tongue in cheek-swashbucker of a story. Something light and easy to read...

    Have always wondered if I hit the mark with it.
    In a word, yes. "The Hat Man" IS readable and enjoyable, and it IS light and easy to read. It IS a tongue-in-cheek swashbuckler type of story. If that's what you were trying to do, then congratulations, you hit the bull's eye.

    The plot is the same as it was when I first read it long ago, but I can tell that you've spruced up the writing--used more colourful vocabulary and more elaborate description. It sounds really good, and I enjoyed reading it.

    My favourite parts were all the funny ones. For example, Jack plunging his hand into the barmaid's cleavage, Albert's "iron balls," and especially the entire conversation between Albert and Jack on the last page. I laughed out loud, great stuff! You really have a gift for humour.

    After reading the first chapter I find myself wanting to read on (even though I basically remember what happens next). Not only because of good, often funny writing and interesting characters (especially Albert) but because you've done a good job of planting questions in the reader's mind. Not too many so as to be overwhelming, but just enough to keep turning pages. Questions such as, who is Albert, really? Who is Jack for that matter? What's Alisha's secret? What sinister plans are in store for Elena? And most especially, what's in the puzzle box and why is it important for the king to get it?

    As a first chapter of a book (or novella?) I think it's excellent. It introduces all the characters, sets the stage for the journey they will all take together, and creates an aura of mystery around several of the characters. In other words, it makes you want to keep reading.

    To tell you the truth Holbrook I never got to the end of the copy of "The Hat Man" you sent to me so long ago. I got about 2/3 of the way through when the disk I had it stored on got destroyed. So I never got to see how it ended. Is there any chance that I might be able to read it again? I really would like to know how everything turns out...I don't know why publishers have rejected it, personally I find to be it a highly entertaining story. I guess you just have to find the right publisher.

    Good work, and good luck getting it published!

  11. #11
    Edited for submission Holbrook's Avatar
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    Phew!
    I am bowled over by that!
    Don't know what to say but thanks!

    Drop us your email and I will send you the beast, not long, about 90,000 words....

    Right Publisher indeed.... at the moment I am leaving it until I get an answer back from this agent about my other book...I am tempted though to offer it to mag as a serial at some point.
    Last edited by Holbrook; January 29th, 2005 at 03:19 AM.

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